THE 110-year-old Fifie sailing herring drifter Reaper, based at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, has spent the 2012 season successfully visiting harbours up and down the eastern Scottish and northern English coast.
During the Reaper’s travels, the boat covered about 1000 miles at sea, had over 12,500 visitors – which included some from 34 different countries – looking at the exhibits on board, and gathered over £4000 from visitors’ donations.
She travelled up to Wick and Portsoy for their regattas, to Arbroath for its Seafest weekend, and down to Whitby for its week-long folk music festival.
The Reaper was invited to take part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Flotilla on the Thames in June, but the height of her masts prevented this, and instead, she and the two other big Fifies (Isabella Fortuna and Swan) led the Scottish Diamond Jubilee flotilla at Wick in glorious June weather.
In August, the Reaper went down to the folk festival in Whitby with two new crew members who had been invited over from the Mystic Seaport maritime museum in Connecticut, USA. A great time was had both by visitors from the coastal communities visited, and by the museum’s boat club crews at all these events.
In addition, White Wing, the museum’s second sea-going boat, a Baldie, also had a busy season, including taking the star role at the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Millennium Wheel at Falkirk, which White Wing, skippered by Coull Deas, had helped inaugurate in 2002.
Also in August, Fiona Hyslop MSP, Secretary for Culture in the Scottish Government, visited Anstruther and met with the Reaper’s and White Wing’s crews.
The Reaper has now finished this year’s travels, and is being prepared for her winter maintenance and refurbishment schedule.
All exhibition artefacts and information boards will be removed from inside her hull for refurbishment, and her two masts have been lifted out for their preservation treatment, and placed on the quay in Anstruther.
Later on, she will be taken up to the Arbroath yard of McKays for inspection of the hull and deck, and for any necessary repairs.
Various work to the inside of the hull, and painting jobs, will be done in Anstruther.
White Wing will be lifted on to her trailer on the Anstruther quay, and her winter maintenance schedule will include work on the hull and some painting.
•The museum’s boat club is always looking out for new members, and welcomes anybody who is willing to get their hands dirty, helping to maintain and sail the vessels. If you are interested, go along to the museum on Thursday or Saturday morning (10am coffee), and meet the members of the club and to learn about its activities.